Raspberry buttermilk cupcakes

So. Remember that photo of the cupcakes I posted right before I went off on holiday? (Actually you probably don’t, simply because it’s been ages since…) Anyway, I’ve decided that it’s high time I blog about them, and take one thing off my seriously worrying list of backlogs. I mean, I have things dating back to January that are still in the ‘someday’ pile. Eeep.

But enough about that, and on to the cupcakes. As I’ve mentioned previously, I *love* Bill Granger. His recipes are simple, he provided me with my favourite pancake recipe and seems like a genuinely nice person (on his show anyway). What more could you want? He is also by far, one of the smiley-est chefs I’ve seen on tv – in fact he smiles so much that sometimes I struggle to wonder what he would look like without a huge grin on his face. I currently own three of his cookbooks, and I love all of them. The gorgeous photos help, of course (one to each recipe, the way I like it!). Every recipe I’ve used from his books has worked well, with the added bonus of them being really easy to whip up from ingredients you’ll tend to find in your fridge/storecupboard.

I was intrigued by this recipe for a buttermilk cake with a raspberry syrup the moment I saw it. I like using buttermilk when baking, as I find it makes the cakes/bread/cupcakes very soft and moist. The best thing about it is that you can easily make your own buttermilk at home – just add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup of milk, and let it sit for 10 minutes. Voila, you have buttermilk!

I tweaked the recipe slightly, as I preferred the raspberries in the cake as opposed to only being in the sauce. I also made them into cupcakes because… they’re cuter. Plus it gave me a chance to experiment with a sugar icing topping, something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. However, I did find that many of the raspberries burst during the baking process, which meant my cupcakes were slightly ‘wetter’ and denser than I would like. Maybe that’s why the recipe calls for a raspberry syrup… hmmm. And perhaps I should learn how to follow recipes properly. But no matter, because despite my issues with it’s ‘wetness’, I still enjoyed the cupcakes – a lot.

Raspberry buttermilk cupcakes
Adapted from a Bill Granger recipe in Bill’s Food

For the cupcakes:

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 180g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 250ml buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 200g raspberries
  • pinch of salt

For the sugar icing:

  • 60g icing sugar, sifted
  • 2-3 tablespoons hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • raspberries (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the softened butter and sugar until it becomes pale and fluffy. I use my trusty Kitchen Aid (on high speed), but this will work just as well with handheld electric beaters.
3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well in between the addition of each egg.
4. Turn the mixer down to low speed, and beat in the buttermilk and vanilla extract until just combined.
5. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt into the mixing bowl in two batches, mixing well (either with a spatula or with your mixer on low speed) in between each addition.
6. Lastly, carefully add the raspberries into the batter – they’re quite fragile so take care to not ‘burst’ all of them, or you’ll end up with a red batter!
7. Spoon the mixture into a greased muffin tray/muffin cases.
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean/and the cupcakes are golden. Leave to cool.
9. Whilst the cupcakes are cooling, make the topping. Mix the sugar, hot water and vanilla extract in a bowl until it forms a smooth mixture.
10. Once the cupcakes have cooled, pour the sugar icing over each cupcake. Do not pour too much on as it will envelope the whole cupcake in icing, and it won’t look as nice.
11. Top with raspberries (if you like), and serve.

Pancake Tuesday!

I’ve been home for more than a week now, and I can’t believe how quickly time has flown by. This time next week, I’ll be getting ready to head back to London, eep.

Being in UK for the last 7 years has meant I’ve forgotten about how busy it gets during Chinese New Year. It’s been rather hectic over the last few days, with all the home visits and family gatherings – but rest assured that this has not stopped me from taking lots of photos! And for once I think I may just have more photos of people than I do of food in my camera. It’s been great fun though, and things should get slightly less busy now as it usually does around the 3rd day of Chinese New Year (for those of you who don’t know, we Chinese go all out, and the celebration lasts for a full 15 days).

Although I’ve been surrounded by lots of red & gold decorations, as well as lots of Chinese/Malaysian food, I didn’t want to miss the chance to post something on Pancake Day (even though it’s not in line with my plan to have Chinese New Year related posts). I’m a massive fan of pancakes, and try to make them whenever I can. I still remember the first time I made pancakes – they were upsettingly thin and dare I even say.. not fluffy in the very least! But practice always helps, and after many many experiments, I have found my favourite pancake recipe: none other than the lovely Bill Granger’s ricotta hotcakes.

I have previously blogged about these little babies, but as it IS my favourite pancake recipe, I hope that you will forgive me for blogging about the same thing. What I can say is that I now am able to make them fluffier than I could previously – I used to flatten the pancakes with my spatula as I thought this would make it brown more evenly, but I then realised that this meant my pancakes would flatten out and be less ‘fluffy’. So the best way to do this is definitely to just pour the batter onto the pan, and resist the urge to mess around with it! 😛

Bill’s original recipe calls for these hotcakes/pancakes to be served with bananas and honeycomb butter, but as I have never been one for following recipes to the T, I’ve always served it with the fruits I have on hand. I previously served them with a mix of summer berries (which I buy frozen from Waitrose – they come in really handy I must say!), and this time, I went for blueberries instead. And of course, lots and lots of maple syrup.

You can find the recipe for these lovely ricotta hotcakes here. A special mention goes out to the lovely Mowie, who introduced me to these in the first place – for which I am very thankful!

I hope you do try these, even if it’s not today. I promise it’ll be worth it. (And if ricotta pancakes are not your thing, maybe you’ll prefer these chocolate chip pancakes.)

Happy Pancake Day, everyone!

Bill Granger’s Ricotta Hotcakes

I only got to know of Bill Granger earlier this year, when his show began to air on UKTV Food/Good Food channel. R actually started watching the show first as I was busy stressing out over exams at the time, and told me that Bill Granger cooked the “most amazing looking scrambled eggs ever”. And when I started watching his show, I grew to really like Bill, and the simplicity of his food. The sun and beaches in his show certainly lend a helping hand as well!

But to get to the point, I knew I had to make these ricotta hotcakes when I saw them on Mowie’s blog. And I must say it’s hard to describe how I felt when I first had these ricotta hotcakes – but I can tell you it went along the lines of “mmmmmm ohmygod this is so good, I must make more tomorrow”. 😛

These hotcakes are truly one of the best pancakes/hotcakes I’ve ever had, as they are delightfully light and fluffy (even lighter than my favourite go-to pancake recipe!), with the random bits of ricotta every now and then. And when topped with maple syrup and some fruit, these make for a perfect weekend brunch.

Bill Granger’s Ricotta Hotcakes
Tweaked from Mowie’s adaptation of Bill’s recipe

  • 250g ricotta
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 4 eggs, seperated
  • 1 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • some butter, to cook hotcakes

1. Pour milk into mixing bowl, and add egg yolks. Mix till just combined.

2. Add flour, baking powder and salt and mix.

3. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form, and gently fold through batter.

4. Lastly, add ricotta and mix. (Take care to not overmix as you want to have chunky bits of ricotta to bite into later on!)

5. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat, then grease lightly with butter. (I tend to use a small dollop, and then wipe the excess off with a kitchen towel so it doesn’t get overly greasy.)

6. Pour 1/2 cup of batter (per hotcake) into the pan. Cook on one side until little bubbles appear (~2 minutes), flip over, and cook on the other side for about 1 minute. (I only cook one at a time, so I keep the hotcakes warm in a low heat oven.)

7. Serve with a generous sprinkle of icing sugar, maple syrup, and fruits of your choice! (I have yet to try this with yogurt or jam, but I’m sure it’d taste just as good.)